Muscles Targeted: Instead of using traditional free weight barbell squats, you can also choose to perform them using the Smith machine, which is used for various types of exercises. This machine comprises a barbell, which is fixed in such a manner that it slides along vertical rails. Smith machine squats are an excellent exercise that targets the quadriceps along with the hamstrings and gluteus (butt) muscles. All those who are new to squats can use the Smith machine to become familiar with the position of the body and over feel of the exercise while performing them.
Exercise Advice: Begin by setting up the Smith machine to perform the squats. Set up the bar so that is around shoulder height. Start by loading the preferred weight, depending upon your current strength and fitness objective. Stand under the bar, keeping the legs almost shoulder width apart. Hold the bar with a wide grip position with your hands. Position the center of bar on your trapezius muscles of the upper back. Make sure that the bar does not sit on the neck. Ensure that your back is straight with your head and eyes facing forward. Start by taking the weight off the rack by unlatching the handles of the Smith machine. Slowly squat downwards while keeping your butt out and your back straight and bend your knees until your thighs are in such a position that they are parallel to the floor, or to a level that is comfortable to you. From the bottom position, push up with your heels and return the weight to the starting position. Repeat several reps with the Smith Machine Squats to achieve your desired fitness objective.
Things To Avoid: While performing Smith machine squats, make sure to learn the proper technique completely before performing the exercise. You should always begin with a very light weight and then slowly and gradually increase the weight, when you are consistent with correct technique. If you have any pain in your lower back while performing this movement, stop the exercise immediately. This pain is a sign of either incorrect technique or an existing issue with your back. Contact a Doctor right away to make sure everything is fine.
Anyone doing this exercise should make sure that your back is straight while squatting up and down. Keep your eyes facing in the forward direction to ensure that the head and neck are straight and in a fixed position. Also, keep your chest out and shoulder blades back. Your abs and core muscles should be tensed while performing this exercise. From the bottom position, make sure that you push with the heels of your feet and avoid pushing up with your toes and the front of your feet. The weight should feel like it’s mainly back on your heels as you perform this exercise.
Reps and Sets: Keep your repetitions between 15-20 reps per set when first starting out in order to get the technique down correctly. Once experienced, you can increase the weight and lower the reps to 6-8 per set in order to overload the legs and build the maximum amount of muscle mass and strength.